Teen Health Project
Overview of the Curriculum
Teen Health Project is a community-level intervention that helps adolescents develop skills to enact change, and provides continued modeling, peer norm and social reinforcement for maintaining the prevention of HIV risk behavior.
Opinion leaders are selected based on nominations and represent 15% of the total number of adolescents in each housing development. HIV prevention messages are emphasized throughout the activities and on small media, project newsletters, and t-shirts. Prevention messages are also featured at community-wide social events, talent shows, musical performances, and festivals in order to establish and maintain HIV risk-reduction norms among peers, family members, and the larger community. In addition, parents of adolescent enrollees are offered a workshop that focuses on HIV/AIDS information and approaches to discussing issues related to abstinence and condom use with their children.
The goals of this intervention are for adolescents at high risk for HIV who live in urban, ethnically-diverse, low-income housing developments to:
- Increase abstinence from sexual intercourse
- Increase condom use
Two workshops (one per week, three hours each) are delivered by two facilitators. Adolescents first attend two 3-hour workshops that focus on HIV/STD education and skills training on avoiding unwanted sex, sexual negotiation, and condom use, with themes of personal pride and self-respect. Workshops are conducted separately for males and females, who are divided by younger and older enrollees. Adolescents then attend two follow-up sessions and various community activities and events with peers from their social networks in the housing development.
The workshop component is adapted from three other programs: Be Proud! Be Responsible!; Adolescents Living Safely: AIDS Awareness, Attitudes, and Actions; and Becoming a Responsible Teen (BART).
The intervention delivery methods include:
- Risk reduction supplies (condoms)
- Skills building exercises
- Small media (e.g. brochures, project newsletters, t-shirts)
- Social events
Unique Features of the Curriculum
Community-Level Intervention: This component has two parts. The first is the formation of a Teen Health Project Leadership Council (THPLC), which is populated through a nomination process from each workshop group. The council meets weekly for six months to implement community activities. The THPLC is established in each housing development to encourage attendance, reinforce abstinence and condom use, plan HIV prevention activities to maintain risk reduction, set norms supporting abstinence and condom use, and gain support from adults to promote activities. Through pledges and videotaped testimonials, adolescents are encouraged to make commitments to HIV reduction.
The second part is a 90-minute HIV/AIDS workshop for parents focusing on information about HIV and AIDS and on ways to discuss sexual health-related issues with children. Participants are engaged in parent-teen communication skills-building exercises and can view a condom demonstration if they choose.
Teen Health Project draws upon two theories: Diffusion of Innovations, which deals with the adoption of new ideas among individuals and organizations, and Social Cognitive Theory, a learning theory based on the idea that people learn and change their thinking (cognition) about a behavior by observing others.
Ordering and Training Information
Ordering: The curriculum package can be purchased from Sociometrics online at: www.socio.com/passt25.php
Training: Two facilitators lead the workshop, follow-up sessions, and teen leadership council events. They are not required to have any formal training but are expected to familiarize themselves with the materials and associated videos.
Evaluation Fact Sheet
Teen Health Project is a community-level intervention designed to help adolescents develop behavior modification skills. The program is designed to reduce sexual activity, increase condom use and negotiation skills, and enable participants to reduce risky sexual behaviors. The program consists of adolescent and parent workshops, as well as a community-based teen leadership council.
Sexually inexperienced adolescents in the Community-level Intervention (CLI) communities were significantly more likely to have remained abstinent than adolescents in the AIDS Education comparison communities (p = .04) at 18 months post baseline (2 months after completion of the CLI). At the 12-month follow-up: adolescents participating in the intervention who were sexually inexperienced at baseline were significantly more likely to report having remained abstinent at the time of follow-up.
Sexually active adolescents in the CLI communities were significantly more likely to report condom use at last sex than adolescents in the AIDS Education comparison communities (p =.05) at 18 months post baseline (2 months after completion of the CLI). Sexually active adolescents in the Group Level Intervention Workshops were significantly more likely to report condom use at last sex than adolescents in the AIDS Education comparison communities (p =.01) at 12 months after the completion of the workshop.
The original evaluation was conducted in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin; Roanoke, Virginia; and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington between 1998 and 2000. The baseline study sample was of 1172 adolescents in 15 housing developments. Five sets of three housing developments (1 set in each city) were matched by tenant characteristics (e.g., adolescents’ age and gender). Within the five sets, each housing development was randomly assigned to one of three groups: Community-level Intervention (five developments, 392 adolescents), Workshop Intervention (five developments, 428 adolescents), or AIDS Education Comparison (five developments, 352 adolescents).
The study included adolescents (age range 12 to 17 years with a mean age of 14.5 years) from housing developments in urban areas with high rates of poverty, STDs, and drug use. 51% were African-American, 20% Asian, 10 % East African, and 5% other ethnicities. 50% were male and 50% female.
Sikkema K. J., Anderson, E. S., Kelly, J. A., Winett, R. A., Gore-Felton, C., Roffman, R. A., Heckman, T. G., Graves, K., Hoffmann, R. G., & Brondino. M. J. (2005). Outcomes of a randomized, controlled community-level HIV prevention intervention for adolescents in low-income housing developments. AIDS, 19(14), 1509–1516.